Department of Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia

The Problem

Before the implementation of the single entry point online at, the South Australian Government had more than 500 individual websites. This was costly for Government and confusing for customers. Most of these sites were based on the way government administers its services, rather than the way people use services. People seeking information or services from the government often needed to know which department provided it to find it. Other relevant information from other departments was not connected. This made it hard for people to find what they needed, leaving them feeling intimidated, confused and frustrated.
Across the world people expect organisations to provide services that are streamlined, easy to access and focused on customers. This includes governments. Unmet expectations resulted in dissatisfaction, producing a need to improve online service delivery.
Without access to transactions and services online, customers were forced to attend service centres or telephone call centres. These channels of service provision cost significantly more than online delivery, resulting in an efficient use of government funding.
Demand for services forced onto these channels has resulted in delays, producing further frustration and dissatisfaction in government service delivery.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution) is a common internet site, where citizens and businesses can access information and services from across government in one place. Comprehensive and visionary, it includes customer-centric publishing, online self service and secure payment processing.
Through, the South Australian Government aims to improve the way customers interact with government. It is structured around topics, such as transport or disability, that make sense to customers so they don’t have to understand the government’s organisational structure, boundaries and divisions of responsibility to find the information and services they need.
All content on is rewritten into simple, plain-English, separating corporate and program information from customer content. This enables users to find what they need quickly and easily. The approach to writing the content for the web has been informed by leading research and experts in the field. also makes it easier for people to 'help themselves', providing a range of transactions and other online services.
This innovative, collaborative business model is the first of its kind in Australia and represents a radical departure from the traditional agency 'silo' approach. The program is led and managed by the eGovernment team within the South Australian Government. eGovernment facilitates collaboration between all SA Government agencies to provide a customer-focused website and associated transactions.
The program is continually developing and implementing new capabilities to respond to emerging demands. Current innovations include building smartphone apps to facilitate SA's new vehicle registration system, and developing an e-notification system for reminders, subscription services and so on. Apart from being a unique initiative, this project is allowing the program team to develop technical and business expertise as a facilitator, informed buyer and adviser for the whole of government.
The program is also developing its SmartForm and webform capabilities to support online service delivery. Through in-house expertise, vendor relationships, and developing standards and templates, eGovernment will facilitate consistent services to citizens and businesses while achieving best practices and economies of scale for government.
Payment services are also being expanded to deliver enhanced citizen services while reducing agency cost and management. This will remove the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance burden from agencies and increase the security and reliability of the service for citizens.
eGovernment actively listens, responds and manages information through social media, recently launching the Twitter account as a customer engagement and marketing tool.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Ask Just Once was approved by the Government of South Australia in October 2007. eGovernment and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, as divisions of the South Australian Government, developed as a joint program of work. The website is based on the UK Directgov model and represents a significant change in the way information is presented.
The program, by its nature, involves whole of government, citizens and businesses in its design and implementation. As outlined previously, the implementation model is based on the marketing concept of ‘franchises’. To date, the following franchises have been completed:
• Seniors
• Carers
• Housing, Property and Land
• Disability
• Transport
• Energy and Climate Change
• Business in South Australia
• Education
• Water
• Community Groups and Volunteers
• Aboriginal Employment Programs

The next franchise topics for development are:
• Employment
• Citizens and Your Rights
• Primary Industries

This represents engagement of a large proportion of government agencies in South Australia. Lead departments collaborate with a range of other areas of government to provide relevant information relating to the topic area. Further franchises are planned.

Central to the development of content on is consultation with a reference group made up of stakeholder representatives from the target audience - eg citizens or business owners for the franchise topic. Franchises may also draw together a range of subject experts from across government as well as non-government services depending on the needs of the franchise. The group provides a consultative forum to ensure new content meets customer needs and expectations and that it reflects the range of available government and government-endorsed services.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The key strategy driving the implementation of is the South Australian Government’s Ask Just Once ICT strategy. The strategy focuses the Government’s energy on the use of technology to transform the delivery of Government services so that citizens and businesses only have to “ask just once” to get what they need from Government. This includes creating a single entry point for customers through the internet, telephone and service desk channels. The online component of this strategy was implemented with the launch of in November 2009.

The single entry point online is being implemented using a model based on the marketing concept of ‘franchises’. This allows to be managed in separate segments. Each franchise is effectively a subset of the overall programme - an operating unit that addresses a defined market segment which may be based on a subject theme, activity, audience demographic or psychographic e.g. seniors, motorists, education.

Each franchise has an assigned team of people to produce content which is published on As a customer-focussed website, each franchise team identifies the target audience for the topic and assembles a reference group made up of representatives of this group. These end users inform government about what information and services they expect to find within a topic. The team then identifies and engages agencies across government with relevant content, re-writes the content to plain-English and gains on-going commitment from multiple agencies to maintain the content within the topic. The content of all the franchises looks and feels the same, creating a seamless and accessible presentation under the one Government brand.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words was launched in May 2009 and has deployed a phased approach, as outlined below.

Phase 1
• Development of the business model and product offering
• Establishment and completion of the first 3 franchises
• Development of the channel management strategy
• Development of the communications strategy and plan
• Delivery of a ‘Release 1.0’ public service on the web in May 2009

Phase 2
• Customer satisfaction research and incremental product improvement
• Delivery of a ‘Release 2.0’ and official launch - November 2009
• Establishment and completion of franchise tranche 2
• Establishment and completion of franchise tranche 3
• Establishment and completion of franchise tranche 4
• Infrastructure requirements determined
• New platform built and tested
• Authentication processes built
• Initiation of website rationalisation and communications activities

Phase 3
• Establishment and completion of franchise tranche 5
• Incremental product improvement releases
• Single sign on completed
• Integrate transaction services

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Resistance to change from some areas of government has proved to be the key challenge, due to the transformational change required in getting agencies to work together to develop content, with a customer-focussed approach, and within a common content management system.
eGovernment established a clear governance model, ensuring commitment from Chief Executives to each franchise. Commitment at this level assisted in negotiating engagement with executive and business units. Relationships and trust were built through regular formal and informal meetings, and regular open communication. Project Boards were established for each franchise, comprising executive representation from each contributing agency, ensuring high level ownership of the franchise and outcomes.
Significant skills and efforts have been invested by the program management team in an ongoing process of negotiation, engagement and promotion of the program throughout Government and the community.
It was also important to adhere to a strict franchise business model in the face of resistance, with most agencies asserting the need to deviate from a standard model to accommodate their own style, brand and corporate messages. Strong program management ensured there was no deviation so that the model achieved the potential benefits identified. As a result, new skills and capacity have been built across government.

Other key strategies that have assisted in overcoming resistance have included co-locating franchise teams with eGovernment and with other franchise teams while they are developing initial content, helping them to maintain a customer-focus away from departmental culture. Involving staff from a range of departments in the development of content is not only necessary to ensure accuracy and relevance of information, it means that those individuals ensure ownership of the content, and act as change agents, promoting the program when they return to work in other areas of government.

Lack of resources for the program has also been a key challenge. Phase 1 and 2 work has been undertaken from existing budgets, prior to the realisation of any savings to be redirected to the program. This has meant the use of existing infrastructure, with limited program staff. Success of the program to date is a direct result of the skills of the small team in implementing the model, engaging and influencing staff across government, with strict adherence to quality standards. A whole of government recharging model has been developed to ensure increased funding for the program to ensure growth and increased online services in the future.

Developing the skills throughout Government to write for the web and in plain English has also been a challenge. eGovernment has an editorial team dedicated to quality control, including training. The program uses a train-the-trainer model to ensure that these skills are spread as widely as possible throughout Government. A range of resources, including a style guide, have also been developed.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
The single entry point online was developed and is managed by eGovernment, a small team within the South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC).
The team consists of:
Program Director (0.5 full time equivalent)
Program Manager
Chief Editor
Content Manager
Web Development Consultant
Web Administrator

Policy advice was provided by the Office of the Chief Information Officer and strategic communications advice by the Strategic Communications Unit within DPC.

Franchise teams responsible for developing content are resourced by lead Government departments. Franchise teams consist of:
Franchise Manager
Project Manager
Content Editor

These teams are recruited by the delegate of the Chief Executive responsible for leading the franchise. They are physically located with the core program team for the duration of the project.

Agencies contributing content to each topic delegate responsibility for the maintenance and further development to content authors and editors across government.

Phase 1 and 2 utilises existing technology, with minor modifications to the platform to facilitate business needs. Procurement of an enterprise content management system will occur at the end of phase 2.

A recharging model has now been developed to be approved by Cabinet and implemented across government. This funding model allocates costs across departments based on size of agency and amount of content. The model will act as an incentive to drive out efficiency savings and remove duplicate websites.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The website is based on the UK Directgov model, which was also adopted and implemented by the Hong Kong Government. Since its successful implementation in South Australia, the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) has cited as an international example of best practice in transformational government. South Australian Government is providing consultation and advice to others states and territories considering its implementation, including Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and Canberra, and internationally, including New Zealand.
The financial model for is based on a recharging model, allocating cost to each department based on their size (number of full time equivalent staff) and percentage of customer-facing content on the internet. This model provides an incentive for departments to transfer content and maintain it on, reducing duplication and providing cost efficiencies through the use of shared infrastructure.
Ownership of content by individual business units, and the use of a distributed authorship model ensure ongoing commitment to the program. has been recognised for its excellence and innovation at the FutureGov Summit Awards in Putrajaya, Malaysia by being awarded the FutureGov Public Sector Organisation of the Year (Oceania) award. The award follows previous recognition in July 2010, when won the e-Government iAward for innovation in delivery of services at the 2010 Australian Information Industry Association South Australian awards.
A change in SA Government leadership in October 2011 and major departmental reshuffle provided a test for the sustainability and robustness of, which it has unequivocally passed.

Despite a major reorganisation of government departments, customers can still access the information and services they need from government in one place, based around topics that are relevant to them. Other than occasional contact details and corporate areas of the site, public facing information will remain unchanged - meaning there is no cost to government and no disruption to customers.

Where necessary, services will also be provided through mobile apps. In September 2011, SA Government’s EzyReg mobile app won the Best Government Services app for 2011 in the Australian Mobile Awards.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
This program of work has been transformational for SA Government. It has encouraged agencies to collaborate, working together with a customer-focus to produce content and services to meet customer expectations.
Implementing a strong governance structure was key to our success. The Ask Just Once strategy was approved by Cabinet. Franchise topics and lead agencies were endorsed by Chief Executives. Each franchise has a Board, with executive representation of all partner agencies and customer reference groups. Franchise teams are staffed by the lead agency and content authorship is distributed across business owners. The core team has responsibility for program management, stakeholder management, editorial and quality assurance, infrastructure, policy and strategic communications.
The strong and clear governance structure, from the highest levels down, ensured teams were empowered to progress each franchise project in the face of resistance to change.
Another key lesson learned was the success achieved through focussing on customers and content, rather than technology. Most internet projects within government begin with a focus on procuring the right technology to deliver what is required. This often leads to delays in implementation, and allocation of resources to technology instead of content development. Content is often then developed to suit the platform and the corporate message instead of the customer. A focus on identifying the target audience and recruiting reference groups from the target audience to understand what they really want from government required a paradigm shift for all involved and resulted in a truly customer-focussed website.
The co-location of franchise teams with eGovernment while developing initial content enabled sharing of a broad range of knowledge, skills, and ideas, and assisted teams to maintain a customer focus away from departmental culture.
The core team has worked with agencies in the development of content to also gather their business requirements for an enterprise content management system. This will be delivered in Phase 2, with a focus on delivering what is needed for customers in the new technology.
Regular health checks were performed by an independent consultant, providing external validation. This proved a valuable tool in gaining and maintaining executive support for the program.
Development of a common internet site and transactional services enables cost savings and cost avoidance across government. The fact that government departments will no longer duplicate efforts in producing parallel systems and functionality means that resources can be redirected across the public service. Common systems and processes across the whole of government also results in less retraining when staff move to a different department.
One example of shared functionality is Bizgate, the centralised secure payment gateway managed by eGovernment. All the functionality, including forms, online shop, event bookings, wizards (e.g. concession eligibility, business loan finder) is available for reuse. The Bizgate payment system interfaces to agency systems, with funds going straight to agency, with no wasteful double handling of money. The system can be tailored to agency needs and ‘skinned’ and branded according to agency requirements.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Department of Premier and Cabinet, Government of South Australia
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Jan McConchie
Title:   Director eGovernment  
Telephone/ Fax:   +61 8 82261893
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Level 1 32 Franklin St
Postal Code:   5000
City:   Adelaide
Country:   Australia

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